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Shaky Syrian Peace Talks

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 at 11:41 PM


Shaky Syrian Peace Talks

by Stephen Lendman

Obama doesn't want talks for peace. He wants his rules imposed. He wants government by diktats. He wants unconditional surrender. He wants regime change.

He wants Syrians denied the right to decide who'll lead them. He wants war continued to depose Assad.

John Kerry is his front man. He matches the worst of Hillary Clinton. He represents lawless imperial arrogance. He pretends to want peace. He and Obama deplore it.

So-called talks are more sham than solution. It's not entirely clear who's coming. More on this below. Extremist elements want war, not peace.

They want secularism ended. They want Salafist rule imposed. They want Syria looking like Saudi Arabia. Wahhabi fanaticism best describes it.

It's militantly hostile to Shia Islam. It wants secular Arab states transformed into extremist Islamist ones.

It wants personal freedoms destroyed. It wants societal rules unfit to live under replacing them.

America wants Syria transformed into a pro-Western vassal state. Obama's war aims achieve it. Peace talks may end up being cover to intensify it.

On January 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

"Attempts are made, including through UN mechanisms, to build up tension around the humanitarian situation in Syria in order to create another pretext to push forward the idea of so-called humanitarian corridors, no-fly zones and, eventually, to justify a humanitarian intervention."

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem accused Washington of promoting terrorism. "The foremost goal of the Syrian people is resisting and defeating" it, he said.

"We are ready to work with the other party to achieve this goal."

Al-Muallem proposed an Aleppo area cease-fire. He suggested exchanging prisoners with opposition forces willing to do so. He said:

"Taking into the account the role of the Russian Federation in ending the bloodshed in Syria, as well as our trustworthy relations, I have handed Minister Lavrov today a plan of security measures in Aleppo."

"In that regard I asked Minister Lavrov to use his contacts to implement this plan and to establish a specific time when all military actions in this area should be ceased."

Opposition forces are skeptical. One commander called al-Muallem's plan "last-minute maneuvering." Another called a truce impossible.

Assad said Syria will never accept Wahabbi or takfiri rule. Nor bow to Western interests. They exploit and brutalize ruthlessly. They do so wherever they're imposed.

Syrians want no part of them. They oppose them for good reason. They want peaceful conflict resolution. It remains illusive. Obama's war rages out-of-control. It shows no signs of ending.

Kerry responded to al-Muallem as expected. He opposes his peacemaking efforts. He wants Washington rules enforced.

"I'm not particularly, you know, surprised that (Assad) is trying to divert" Geneva II from establishing transitional governance, he said.

Assad's "been doing this for months," he claimed, "trying to make himself the protector of Syria against extremists."

"Nobody is going to be fooled." He and other Syrian officials "can bluster. They can protest. They can put out distortions."

"The bottom line is we are going to Geneva to implement Geneva I, and if Assad doesn't do that he will invite greater response." He left no doubt what he means.

He lied claiming Geneva I stipulates Assad must go. It states nothing whatever about it.

It calls for Syrians deciding who'll lead them. It says governance they choose must be "genuinely democratic and pluralistic."

It must conform with "international standards on human rights. It must include an independent judiciary."

It must respect rule of law principles. It must offer "equal opportunities and chances for all."

Ending conflict depends on establishing "a transitional governing body" with "full executive powers."

"It could include members of the present government and the opposition, and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent."

Syrians must "determine the future of the country." All groups and segments of society must be able "to participate in a National Dialogue" process. Outcomes achieved "must be implemented."

"The result of the constitutional drafting would be subject to popular approval."

Once established, "free and fair multi-party elections" must be held. Women must be "represented in all aspects of the transition."

Safety, stability and calm must be established. All sides must comply. Vulnerable groups must be protected.

Humanitarian issues must be addressed. Order must be restored. Efforts must commit to "accountability and national reconciliation."

Syrians alone must "come to a political agreement." They must do it with no outside interference.

"The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected."

Not according to Obama. Not according to Kerry. "(I)t will become clear that there is no political solution whatsoever if Assad is not discussing a transition, and if he thinks he's going to be part of that future," he said.

"It's not going to happen." Kerry wants Syrians excluded from deciding who'll lead them. He wants what they won't accept.

He wants what makes peace impossible. He wants what assures continued conflict. So do extremist opposition groups against peace.

Syria wants talks focused on ending terrorism. Unless it's stopped, killing, destruction and horrific atrocities will continue.

Talks are scheduled to begin on January 22. Asharq Al-Awsat is a London-based international Arabic broadsheet.

It's Saudi government controlled. It's owned by a royal family member. On January 10, it headlined "Syria: UN-sponsored peace talks may be postponed."

It said "discord continues to plague the Syrian opposition." An unnamed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) source was named.

It doubts talks will begin on January 22. It's because Assad hasn't met SNC preconditions, it said.

Friday and Saturday discussions were heated. Heavy US pressure got enough SNC members to bend.

They'll participate in UN-sponsored talks. Members voted 58 to 14 to attend. Another 44 abstained from voting.

Whether participating matters remains to be seen. What role they'll play is unclear. So is their commitment to peace.

Khalid Saleh heads their media office. Talks are aimed at "forming a transitional governing body that has full authority and is free of Assad and his inner circle," he said.

According to SNC leader Ahmad al-Jarba, its representatives will participate "without any bargain regarding the principles of the 'revolution' (aka lawless foreign invasion insurrection) and we will not be cheated by Assad's regime."

"The negotiating table for us is a track toward achieving the demands of the 'revolution' - at the top of them removing the butcher from power."

SNC fighters have been waging war for nearly three years. They're convenient US stooges. At the same time, Washington continues arming, funding, training and directing extremist elements.

Conflict resolution remains distant. US-supported death squads comprise most opposition fighters.

They oppose peace. Their opposition makes it impossible. Conflict resolution depends on defeating them. Obama's imperial agenda prevents it.

SNC and so-called Free Syrian Army members want talks focused on "Assad's complete removal from power."

Most Syrians support him. They oppose Western interference. They deplore Salafist extremism. They want Syria kept secular. They want sovereign independence respected.

Assad isn't going away. He won't step down. He'll run in mid-2014 elections. He'll do so if Syrians want him. He wants them to decide. He deplores foreign interference. International law prohibits it.

Russia wants Syrian sovereignty respected. Putin and Obama are ideological opposites. At issue is peace, stability and sovereign independence v. America's imperial agenda.

Washington rules define it. Hegemons operate this way. America threatens world peace. Syria is in the eye of the storm. It's raging.

It shows no signs of ending. Don't expect Geneva to resolve things. It bears repeating. Obama's idea of conflict resolution is unconditional surrender.

US wars ravage nations into submission. Mass killing and destruction continues. One genocide segues to another. Millions of lost lives don't matter.

Resolving Syria's conflict requires defeating America's imperial agenda. Submitting assures another country becoming another Iraq or Libya.

It assures endless conflict. It assures unresolved violence. It assures worse charnel house conditions than already. It assures countless more lost lives. It assures turning Syrians into exploitable serfs.

On Sunday, Assad met with Russian parliamentary members. He did so in Damascus. He has no intention of stepping down, he said.

"If we wanted to surrender, we would have (done it) from the start," he stressed. "This issue is not under discussion. Only the Syrian people can decide who should take part in elections."

He invited opposition members to participate. None expressed willingness to do so. They'll be embarrassed if they try. Syrians want no part of them.

Washington deplores free elections. It wants convenient US stooges in power. It wants voters having no choice.

America is governed this way. Monied interests run things. Democracy is a four-letter word. It's not tolerated at home or abroad.

Bipartisan complicity finds government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly repugnant. It wants it of, by and for elitists alone.

It wants ordinary people exploited to benefit them. Americans get the best democracy money can buy.

Washington wants the same kind for Syrians. It wants it everywhere. It wants its imposed. Free people everywhere oppose it.

A Final Comment

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks will begin on January 22. They'll continue more than one day. Perhaps as long as it takes.

"Nobody knows how much time (is needed), and the time parameters of the first round are being coordinated now, but it's clear that there'll be more than one such round, and therefore Geneva-2 will not finish but will only start on January 22."

"There will be debates in which the Syrian parties will certainly speak. They will be unveiled by the (UN) secretary general."

"All those who are not indifferent to the fate of the Syrian people and who are taking part in the conference will air their approaches."

Terrorist elements are excluded. Conflict resolution remains distant. Succeeding this time is highly unlikely. Not as long as Washington demands its way. The alternative is continued war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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